Al-Sadr said: “I am confident that such honourable voices will bring down the wall.
“We the people of Iraq will defend Adhamiya and other neighbourhoods that you (Americans) want to segregate from us. We will stand hand in hand with you (Sunnis) to demonstrate and protect our holy land.”
Al-Sadr has been blamed for many of the sectarian killings of Sunni Arabs, and a leading Sunni Muslim group has accused the Shia-led government of turning a blind eye to sectarian death squads allegedly run by the Mahdi Army.
Nevertheless, many Sunnis also protested against the plan, saying they felt like they were being herded into a prison.
Protesters in Adhamiyah carried banners on Monday with slogans such as “No to the sectarian wall” and “Adhamiya children want to see Baghdad without walls”.
But the US and Iraqi military say they plan to construct barriers in other neighbourhoods too to protect people from bombings and other sectarian attacks.
Amid the debate over the Adhamiyah wall, violence continued unabated.
A suicide bomber struck a police station in the province of Diyala, northeast of Baghdad, on Wednesday, killing at least four policeman just days after a double suicide bombing in the same province left nine US soldiers dead.
|US and Iraqi forces say they want to build a
gated community for Adhamiyah’s Sunnis
The suicide bomber detonated his hidden belt of explosives at the front gate of the police station in Balad Ruz.
The explosion also injured at least 16 people, five of whom were policemen and the remaining civillians, police said.
Since US and Iraqi troops launched the security crackdown in February, Sunni fighters are believed to have moved out of the Iraqi capital to nearby areas like Diyala.
In other violence on Wednesday, roadside bombs hit US military convoys in two separate areas of Baghdad, wounding an Iraqi translator and setting fire to a Humvee and damaging two other vehicles, the military said.
Bombs and shootings
In all, roadside bombs, mortar rounds and drive-by shootings killed 10 Iraqis and wounded 23 in the Baghdad area and the cities of Kirkuk, Mosul and Falluja, police said.
Separately, the bodies of four Iraqis who had been kidnapped and tortured were found.
In addition, the US military said an armed man it killed near Baghdad on Friday was Muhammad Abdullah Abbas al-Issawi, an al-Qaeda operative in the province of Anbar.
Al-Issawi is said to be linked to a recent surge in the use of poisonous chlorine gas in car and truck bombs.